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What is the significance of the lights going off again as Archie and Obie sit in...

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wantto | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 8, 2010 at 3:27 AM via web

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What is the significance of the lights going off again as Archie and Obie sit in silence in The Chocolate War?

The passage is "The lights went off again. Archie and Obie sat there awhile not saying anything and then made their way out of the place in darkness."


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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 8, 2010 at 6:22 AM (Answer #1)

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Symbolically, the lights going off signify the triumph of evil. The stadium is plunged into darkness twice; once when Jerry collapses in defeat, signalling the victory of evil over good, and again at the end of the book when Archie and his henchman Obie sit, as they did in the beginning of the book, evil but untouchable.

Brother Jacques turns off the lights in an attempt to stop the fight and the momentum of the aroused crowd in the bleachers. The first time he does it, Archie goes to the control room to see what has happened. Archie is confronted by Brother Jacques, who reprimands him, in an attempt to make things right, and reestablish the forces of light over those of darkness. Brother Leon, at this point, arrives at the scene, and in his presence, Brother Jacques' rebuke towards Archie softens. Brother Leon sticks up for Archie, and it is clear that he is the one in charge.

Brother Leon is the epitome of evil. He has a sadistic nature, and actually enjoys watching the planned and brutal battle between Jerry and the bigger and more ruthless Emile Janza. When Archie is cornered by Brother Jacques and upbraided for his cruel and deadly stunt, Brother Leon intervenes, excusing Archie's behavior as that of young boys just getting carried away. Archie is delighted; his reign of terror will be allowed to continue unhindered as long as Brother Leon is in control. Darkness and evil win out in the end, as is signified by the lights going off again while Archie and Obie sit in silence, with Archie plotting further machinations at the story's conclusion.

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